A Promise to Return
Poetry Analysis Essay
A Promise to Return
"Is there anybody there? said the Traveller, knocking on the moonlit door; and his horse in the silence champed the grass of the forest's ferny floor" (De La Mare, 1-4) and in a dreamlike manner, the scene is set. "The Listeners" by Walter Del La Mare is a dark and spooky poem with an unexpected ending. It is about a "traveller" who rides through an eerie forest in the middle of the night in search of someone. His travels lead him to a quiet house where no one answers his call. However, he feels the presence of someone in the house and calls out to them, but "the listeners" don't budge to answer him. The poem is deep and dark, and leaves many questions looming. The poem is a beautiful look into an unworldly place that could be translated in a number of ways. In "The Listeners" the poet creates mood through the use of alliteration, creates tone through the use of rhyme, and creates atmosphere through the use of imagery.
De La Mare creates a very tense and eerie mood in the poem through the use of alliteration. The “forest’s ferny floor” (De La Mare, 1) was written in the fourth line from the poem and is a great example of alliteration. The repetition of the ‘f’ sounds like a whisper to me, which adds to the eeriness of the poem. Also, “silence surged softly” (De La Mare, 35) in line 35 is another great example of alliteration. The line is very scary, and the way the poet uses the three S’s adds to the creepiness. These two lines create a sense of loneliness in the poem which builds up tension, like a scary movie. The poem is told in a story and the use of alliteration adds to the spooky mood of the poem.
In “The Listeners,” the poet creates a melancholic tone through the use of rhyme. Usually, the use of rhyme in a poem creates an uplifting mood. De La Mare creates a very gloomy tone with his rhymes. He uses lines like, “That goes down to the empty...